HIGHLIGHTS OF MYANMAR TOUR
10 Days Yangon-Bagan-Inle-Indein-Heho
Day 1: Yangon Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for check in. Free at leisure for the remainder of the day. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 2: (B) Yangon city tour After breakfast at your hotel, visit city center landmarks Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandula Park, and other remarkable sites of downtown Yangon, including colonial era buildings and City Hall, which is on the Yangon City Heritage List. You’ll also see Botataung Pagoda (meaning “1,000 Military Officers”) by the Yangon River and observe the daily lives of people in the city center. Later, visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, dedicated in 1962 to General Aung San, the founder of modern Myanmar.
Enjoy lunch on your own, then this afternoon we’ll explore Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, featuring the colossal, 66-meter reclining Buddha. Then take in Bogyoke Market, a great shopping location for Myanmar art, handicrafts, lacquerware, and jewelry. Then experience sunset at the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the glistening golden stupa that towers over the capital. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, and it is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas. This evening visit Karaweik Royal Barge before transferring back to your hotel. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 3: (B) Yangon – Bagan This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bagan, where you’ll be met by your guide to begin a full day exploration of Bagan’s temples. Begin with the colorful Nyaung U Market in the nearby town of the same name, and then move on to Shwezigon Pagoda, completed in 1102 A.D. This was a prototype of later Myanmar stupas. Next up is the mysterious Kyansittha Umin (Cave Temple), and Gubyaukgyi Pagoda, restored in 1991 as part of a joint UNESCO/UNDP project. We’ll resume sightseeing in the afternoon at Tharabar Gate (the only surviving original gate at Bagan), andAnanda Temple, built in 1105. Adjacent to Ananda Temple is Thatbyinnyu Pagoda, built in the mid-12th century and featuring two primary storeys, the second housing a seated Buddha image. And lastly, you’ll see Dhammayangyi Pagoda, the largest of Bagan’s temples. Enjoy a sunset horse cart ride around the pagoda grounds before transferring back to your hotel. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 4: (B) Bagan – Salay – Popa This morning, transfer to the important religious center of Salay on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. On the way, you can take in the local Morning Market in the small town of Chauk. In Salay, visit Yoke Sone Kyaung, a large wooden monastery built in the late-1800’s. It is known for its detailed original woodcarvings depicting court life and scenes from the Buddha’s past lives. Continue to Mt. Popa, a volcano which rises 1,520 meters into the sky. Climbing to the summit of Mt. Popa takes about 45 minutes, and you can visit the Mahagiri Shrine dedicated to the Nats (spirits) at the top, as well as enjoy the wonderful panoramic view. This afternoon visit Myinkaba Village and observe the traditional process of creating lacquerware, one of the best-known Myanmar handicrafts and a specialty of Bagan. Finishing up, stop at nearby Manuha Temple (1067) and the adjacent Hindu Nanpaya Temple. Overnight in Bagan.
Day 5: (B) Bagan – Mandalay – Ava – Amarapura – Sagaing Early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your guide for a day of sightseeing, beginning at the former Royal capital of Ava (or Inwa). See the old city by horse cart and pass through the ancient city walls to visit the brick and stucco Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery and Bagaya Monastery, constructed of teak wood. We’ll also visit a small workshop where alms bowls are made for monks. From there we’ll proceed to the ancient capital of Sagaing. The Sagaing Hills, a famous religious retreat for Buddhists, are dotted with over 500 monasteries used by some 6,000 monks and nuns.
After lunch, pick back up with Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, featuring a large, smiling statue of Gautama Buddha, and Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, which stands out due to its egg-shaped design. Up next is another former Royal capital, Amarapura, home of the famous U Bein Wooden Bridge across Taungthaman Lake. Built around 1850 and spanning 1.2 km, it is believed to be the oldest and (once) longest teakwood bridge in the world. Enjoy a sunset boat ride on the lake before transferring back to your hotel. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 6: (B) Mingun excursion and Mandalay city tour After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Mingun by boat 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western bank of the Irrawaddy River. The 45-minute boat trip to Mingun is a very pleasant way to see life along the river. Sightseeing in Mingun includes Mingun Pahtodawgyi. The ruins are of a massive construction project begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790 which was intentionally left unfinished. Onward to Myatheindan Pagoda (also known as Hsinbyume), modeled on the physical description of the Buddhist mythological mountain, Mount Meru, then wind down the morning at a gigantic 90-ton bell, the largest uncracked ringing bell in the world. Return to Mandalay city.
After lunch we’ll begin a comprehensive sightseeing tour, including Shwenandaw (Golden Palace), a historic monastery near Mandalay Hill. The monastery is known for its teak carvings of Buddhist myths which adorn its walls and roofs. Shwenandaw is built in the traditional Burmese architectural style and is the single remaining major original structure of the original Royal Palace today. Next is Kuthodaw (Royal Merit) Pagoda, housing what is known as the world’s biggest book, consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. Round out your day’s pagoda exploration at Mahamuni Pagoda, a major pilgrimage site southwest of Mandalay with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves. Visit a craftsman’s workshop to see Kalaga tapestries before enjoying the sunset from atop Mandalay Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 7: (B) Mandalay – Heho – Pindaya – Inle Lake After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho in Shan State. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your guide and driven to Pindaya. This is an interesting drive up into the hills and across the Shan Plateau, through fields of mountain rice. Visit the magnificent Pindaya Caves, where thousands of different types of Buddha images are on display in various chambers. Visit some local houses where families produce Shan paper and parasols. Then proceed to Inle Lake to check in to your hotel. Overnight at Inle Lake.
Day 8: (B) Inle – Indein excursion After breakfast, visit Shwe Indein, a group of Buddhist pagodas in the village of Indein. In the afternoon we’ll stop at Myaynigone Village to observe the local way of life and enjoy a cup of green tea with some of the villagers, then Inn Paw Khon, known for its lotus weaving and floating garden. Evening is at leisure. Overnight at Inle Lake.
Day 9: (B) Inle Lake tour – Heho – Yangon After breakfast at your hotel, we’ll depart for Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, one of the principal shrines in Myanmar, where a ritual for pilgrims is to place a small robe or thingan around the images, and to take the robe back to their houses and place it on their own altar as a token of respect for the Buddha and his teachings. Then see Nga Phe Chaung Monastery with its beautiful antique Buddha statues before transferring to Nyaung Shwe Jetty and on to Heho Airport for afternoon flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check in. Overnight in Yangon.
Day 10: (B) Yangon – departure Free at leisure until transfer to Yangon International airport for your departure. End services.